In 10 seconds? Natural Killer cells are a type of immune cell that researchers are engineering to tackle blood cancers–which may cause fewer side effects than T cells.
What’s the story? Our Immunity vs. Cancer series has dug into the ways our immune system helps battle cancer. Many new immunotherapies (i.e. drugs that boost our immune system to fight cancer) look to bolster immune cells called T cells, but there’s another important anti-cancer immune cell that is attracting lots of scientific inquiry. Lessons learned from another member of our immune army, Natural Killer cells (AKA NK cells), are encouraging and suggestive that ‘living drug’ cancer therapies (Think CAR-T cells) might not need to be entirely personalized, which has big implications for cost and scalability. NK cells have key differences from T cells that minimize their likelihood of causing dangerous side effects.